Israel shoots down Syrian fighter near Golan Heights

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Israel rebuffs Russian offer to keep Iranian forces from Golan: official

Israel says it shot down a Syrian fighter jet that penetrated its airspace on Tuesday, but Damascus says the warplane was sacked on as it took part in operations against rebels on Syrian territory.

A Syrian official said his country will respond "at the appropriate time", after Israel shot down a Syrian fighter jet over Israeli airspace Tuesday.

On Monday, Reuters witnesses on the southern edge of the Israeli-occupied Golan spotted numerous warplanes and helicopters in the skies over Syrian territory, some of them dropping bombs.

According to Israeli reports, the incident happened over the Israeli-occupied territory, a claim disputed by Syrian news agency Sana which said the plane had been targeted over Syrian airspace.

The army said there had been an increase in 'internal fighting in Syria, ' including involving the air force, since the morning hours.

Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus, a spokesman for the Israeli military, said Israel's policy in Syria remains one of "noninterference".

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Israel last intercepted a Syrian jet four years ago.

The Su-22 was believed to have been among the Syrian and Russian planes targeting ISIS-held towns along the frontier.

The United States and Russian Federation back opposing sides in Syria's more-than-seven-year-long civil war, but last week in Helsinki Trump and Putin outlined broad plans for increased cooperation between their two countries on global security matters.

In February, an Israeli F-16 jet was brought down by Syrian anti-aircraft fire.

On Monday, two ballistic missiles headed towards Israel set off the alarms and prompted the first use of Israel's David Sling missile defense system.

An Israeli official, who declined to be named, said the Russians had offered to enforce a 100km buffer zone inside Syria free of Iranian forces.

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It was Israel's first operational use of the mid-range David's Sling, which is jointly manufactured by US firm Raytheon Co. "That's why it may have started as a mistake and ended with a patriot missile shooting it down", Tibon said.

The Islamic State jihadist group published photos on Wednesday purporting to show fragments of the Syrian fighter jet shot down by Israel a day earlier. "The IDF monitored the fighter jet, which was then intercepted by the Patriot missiles", the IDF said on its Twitter page.

The jet was said to be about 1.25 miles inside Israeli airspace when it was shot down. It is unclear if the pilot ejected safely, but there was no sign of a parachute. One pilot was severely injured during the ejection, while the second was lightly wounded.

Thousands of Syrians, fleeing the fighting, established tent camps along the border.

The camera showed an Israeli observation post 400 meters (440 yards) away.

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Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Tuesday there would be no cooperation with the Russian military in Syria - at least for now. The ambassador said he fears that giving in to Putin's tactics could set a risky precedent.

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